Muscicapidae – Old World Flycatchers

Firethroat Calliope pectardens ©Craig Brelsford Website

The name Muscicapa for the family was introduced by the Scottish naturalist John Fleming in 1822. The word had earlier been used for the genus Muscicapa by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760. Muscicapa comes from the Latin musca meaning a fly and capere to catch.

The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. They are small to medium birds, ranging from 9 to 22 cm in length. Many species are dull brown in colour, but the plumage of some can be much brighter, especially in the males. Most have broad, flattened bills suited to catching insects in flight, although the few ground-foraging species typically have finer bills.

Old World flycatchers live in almost every environment with a suitable supply of trees, from dense forest to open scrub, and even the montane woodland of the Himalayas. The more northerly species migrate south in winter, ensuring a continuous diet of insects.

Depending on the species, their nests are either well-constructed cups placed in a tree or cliff ledge, or simply lining in a pre-existing tree hole. The hole-nesting species tend to lay larger clutches, with an average of eight eggs, rather than just two to five

The Old World flycatchers are a large family, the Muscicapidae, of small passerine birds mostly restricted to the Old World (Europe, Africa and Asia). These are mainly small arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing. The family includes 322 species among the Chats & Old World Flycatchers; the family Muscicapidae. They are:

White-tailed Alethe Alethe diademata
Fire-crested Alethe Alethe castanea

Karoo Scrub Robin Cercotrichas coryphoeus
Forest Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucosticta
Bearded Scrub Robin Cercotrichas quadrivirgata
Miombo Scrub Robin Cercotrichas barbata
Black Scrub Robin Cercotrichas podobe
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas galactotes
Kalahari Scrub Robin Cercotrichas paena
Brown-backed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas hartlaubi
White-browed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys
Brown Scrub Robin Cercotrichas signata

Indian Robin Copsychus fulicatus
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
Rufous-tailed Shama Copsychus pyrropygus
Madagascan Magpie-Robin Copsychus albospecularis
Seychelles Magpie-Robin Copsychus sechellarum
Philippine Magpie-Robin Copsychus mindanensis
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
Andaman Shama Copsychus albiventris
White-crowned Shama Copsychus stricklandii
White-browed Shama Copsychus luzoniensis
White-vented Shama Copsychus niger
Black Shama Copsychus cebuensis

Fraser’s Forest Flycatcher Fraseria ocreata
White-browed Forest Flycatcher Fraseria cinerascens

Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis
Grey Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus

Angolan Slaty Flycatcher Melaenornis brunneus
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Melaenornis fischeri
Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher Melaenornis chocolatinus
Nimba Flycatcher Melaenornis annamarulae
Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher Melaenornis ardesiacus
Northern Black Flycatcher Melaenornis edolioides
Southern Black Flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina
Pale Flycatcher Melaenornis pallidus
Chat Flycatcher Melaenornis infuscatus
African Grey Flycatcher Melaenornis microrhynchus
Marico Flycatcher Melaenornis mariquensis
Fiscal Flycatcher Melaenornis silens

Silverbird Empidornis semipartitus

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Gambaga Flycatcher Muscicapa gambagae
Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa sodhii
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni
Ashy-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa randi
Sumba Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa segregata
Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui
Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea
Ashy Flycatcher Muscicapa caerulescens
Swamp Flycatcher Muscicapa aquatica
Cassin’s Flycatcher Muscicapa cassini
Olivaceous Flycatcher Muscicapa olivascens
Chapin’s Flycatcher Muscicapa lendu
Itombwe Flycatcher Muscicapa itombwensis
African Dusky Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta
Little Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa epulata
Yellow-footed Flycatcher Muscicapa sethsmithi
Dusky-blue Flycatcher Muscicapa comitata
Tessmann’s Flycatcher Muscicapa tessmanni
Sooty Flycatcher Muscicapa infuscata
Ussher’s Flycatcher Muscicapa ussheri
Böhm’s Flycatcher Muscicapa boehmi

White-gorgeted Flycatcher Anthipes monileger
Rufous-browed Flycatcher Anthipes solitaris

Hainan Blue Flycatcher Cyornis hainanus
Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor
Rück’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis ruckii
Blue-breasted Blue Flycatcher Cyornis herioti
White-bellied Blue Flycatcher Cyornis pallipes
Pale-chinned Blue Flycatcher Cyornis poliogenys
Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas
Large Blue Flycatcher Cyornis magnirostris
Palawan Blue Flycatcher Cyornis lemprieri
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae
Sunda Blue Flycatcher Cyornis caerulatus
Bornean Blue Flycatcher Cyornis superbus
Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides
Chinese Blue Flycatcher Cyornis glaucicomans
Malaysian Blue Flycatcher Cyornis turcosus
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra
Tanahjampea Blue Flycatcher Cyornis djampeanus
Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher Cyornis omissus
Timor Blue Flycatcher Cyornis hyacinthinus
Blue-fronted Blue Flycatcher Cyornis hoevelli
Matinan Blue Flycatcher Cyornis sanfordi
White-tailed Flycatcher Cyornis concretus
Russet-backed Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis oscillans
Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus
Nicobar Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis nicobaricus
Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis olivaceus
Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis umbratilis
Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis ruficauda
Henna-tailed Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis colonus

Fujian Niltava Niltava davidi
Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara
Rufous-vented Niltava Niltava sumatrana
Vivid Niltava Niltava vivida
Large Niltava Niltava grandis
Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae

Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana
Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis

Dull-blue Flycatcher Eumyias sordidus
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus
Turquoise Flycatcher Eumyias panayensis
Nilgiri Flycatcher Eumyias albicaudatus
Indigo Flycatcher Eumyias indigo
Streak-breasted Jungle Flycatcher Eumyias additus

European Robin Erithacus rubecula

Red-throated Alethe Pseudalethe poliophrys
Brown-chested Alethe Pseudalethe poliocephala
White-chested Alethe Pseudalethe fuelleborni
Thyolo Alethe Pseudalethe choloensis

White-bellied Robin-Chat Cossyphicula roberti

Mountain Robin-Chat Cossypha isabellae
Archer’s Ground Robin Cossypha archeri
Olive-flanked Ground Robin Cossypha anomala
Cape Robin-Chat Cossypha caffra
White-throated Robin-Chat Cossypha humeralis
Angolan Cave Chat Cossypha ansorgei
Grey-winged Robin-Chat Cossypha polioptera
Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat Cossypha cyanocampter
Rüppell’s Robin-Chat Cossypha semirufa
White-browed Robin-Chat Cossypha heuglini
Red-capped Robin-Chat Cossypha natalensis
Chorister Robin-Chat Cossypha dichroa
White-headed Robin-Chat Cossypha heinrichi
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat Cossypha niveicapilla
White-crowned Robin-Chat Cossypha albicapillus

Swynnerton’s Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni

White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata

Forest Robin Stiphrornis erythrothorax

Bocage’s Akalat Sheppardia bocagei
Lowland Akalat Sheppardia cyornithopsis
Equatorial Akalat Sheppardia aequatorialis
Sharpe’s Akalat Sheppardia sharpei
East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi
Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela
Rubeho Akalat Sheppardia aurantiithorax
Usambara Akalat Sheppardia montana
Iringa Akalat Sheppardia lowei

Collared Palm Thrush Cichladusa arquata
Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush Cichladusa ruficauda
Spotted Palm Thrush Cichladusa guttata

Great Shortwing Heinrichia calligyna

Bagobo Babbler Leonardina woodi

Gould’s Shortwing Heteroxenicus stellatus

Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra
Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophris
White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana

Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher Vauriella gularis
White-throated Jungle Flycatcher Vauriella albigularis
White-browed Jungle Flycatcher Vauriella insignis
Slaty-backed Jungle Flycatcher Vauriella goodfellowi

Indian Blue Robin Larvivora brunnea
Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane
Rufous-tailed Robin Larvivora sibilans
Ryukyu Robin Larvivora komadori
Japanese Robin Larvivora akahige
Rufous-headed Robin Larvivora ruficeps

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
White-bellied Redstart Luscinia phaenicuroides
Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia
Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos

White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis

White-tailed Rubythroat Calliope pectoralis
Siberian Rubythroat Calliope calliope
Firethroat Calliope pectardens
Blackthroat Calliope obscura

White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura
Sunda Robin Myiomela diana
Nilgiri Blue Robin Myiomela major
White-bellied Blue Robin Myiomela albiventris

White-browed Bush Robin Tarsiger indicus
Rufous-breasted Bush Robin Tarsiger hyperythrus
Collared Bush Robin Tarsiger johnstoniae
Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus
Himalayan Bluetail Tarsiger rufilatus
Golden Bush Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus

Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri
Sunda Forktail Enicurus velatus
Chestnut-naped Forktail Enicurus ruficapillus
Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus
Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus
White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti
Bornean Forktail Enicurus borneensis
Spotted Forktail Enicurus maculatus

Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush Myophonus blighi
Shiny Whistling Thrush Myophonus melanurus
Javan Whistling Thrush Myophonus glaucinus
Bornean Whistling Thrush Myophonus borneensis
Brown-winged Whistling Thrush Myophonus castaneus
Malayan Whistling Thrush Myophonus robinsoni
Malabar Whistling Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii
Taiwan Whistling Thrush Myophonus insularis
Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus

Blue-fronted Robin Cinclidium frontale

Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Ficedula ruficauda
European Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Atlas Pied Flycatcher Ficedula speculigera
Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis
Semicollared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia
Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina
Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae
Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki
Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula hodgsonii
Rufous-chested Flycatcher Ficedula dumetoria
Tanimbar Flycatcher Ficedula riedeli
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata
Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla
Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula subrubra
Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra
Little Slaty Flycatcher Ficedula basilanica
Rufous-throated Flycatcher Ficedula rufigula
Cinnamon-chested Flycatcher Ficedula buruensis
Damar Flycatcher Ficedula henrici
Sumba Flycatcher Ficedula harterti
Palawan Flycatcher Ficedula platenae
Cryptic Flycatcher Ficedula crypta
Bundok Flycatcher Ficedula luzoniensis
Furtive Flycatcher Ficedula disposita
Lompobattang Flycatcher Ficedula bonthaina
Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni
Ultramarine Flycatcher Ficedula superciliaris
Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor
Sapphire Flycatcher Ficedula sapphira
Black-and-orange Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa
Black-banded Flycatcher Ficedula timorensis

Pygmy Flycatcher Muscicapella hodgsoni

Przevalski’s Redstart Phoenicurus alaschanicus
Eversmann’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythronotus
Blue-capped Redstart Phoenicurus coeruleocephala
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Hodgson’s Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni
White-throated Redstart Phoenicurus schisticeps
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
Moussier’s Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri
Güldenstädt’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus
Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis
Plumbeous Water Redstart Phoenicurus fuliginosus
Luzon Water Redstart Phoenicurus bicolor
White-capped Redstart Phoenicurus leucocephalus

White-winged Cliff Chat Monticola semirufus
Cape Rock Thrush Monticola rupestris
Sentinel Rock Thrush Monticola explorator
Short-toed Rock Thrush Monticola brevipes
Miombo Rock Thrush Monticola angolensis
Common Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis
Little Rock Thrush Monticola rufocinereus
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush Monticola rufiventris
Blue-capped Rock Thrush Monticola cinclorhyncha
White-throated Rock Thrush Monticola gularis
Littoral Rock Thrush Monticola imerina
Forest Rock Thrush Monticola sharpei

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
White-browed Bush Chat Saxicola macrorhynchus
White-throated Bush Chat Saxicola insignis
Canary Islands Stonechat Saxicola dacotiae
European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus
Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri
African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
Madagascan Stonechat Saxicola sibilla
Reunion Stonechat Saxicola tectes
White-tailed Stonechat Saxicola leucurus
Pied Bush Chat Saxicola caprata
Jerdon’s Bush Chat Saxicola jerdoni
Grey Bush Chat Saxicola ferreus
White-bellied Bush Chat Saxicola gutturalis

Buff-streaked Chat Campicoloides bifasciatus

Sickle-winged Chat Emarginata sinuata
Karoo Chat Emarginata schlegelii
Tractrac Chat Emarginata tractrac

Moorland Chat Pinarochroa sordida

Mocking Cliff Chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
White-crowned Cliff Chat Thamnolaea coronata

Sooty Chat Myrmecocichla nigra
Anteater Chat Myrmecocichla aethiops
Congo Moor Chat Myrmecocichla tholloni
Ant-eating Chat Myrmecocichla formicivora
Rüppell’s Black Chat Myrmecocichla melaena
Mountain Wheatear Myrmecocichla monticola
Arnott’s Chat Myrmecocichla arnotti
Ruaha Chat Myrmecocichla collaris

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata
Red-breasted Wheatear Oenanthe bottae
Heuglin’s Wheatear Oenanthe heuglini
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca
Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
White-fronted Black Chat Oenanthe albifrons
Somali Wheatear Oenanthe phillipsi
Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta
Blackstart Oenanthe melanura
Familiar Chat Oenanthe familiaris
Brown-tailed Rock Chat Oenanthe scotocerca
Sombre Rock Chat Oenanthe dubia
Brown Rock Chat Oenanthe fusca
Variable Wheatear Oenanthe picata
Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura
Abyssinian Wheatear Oenanthe lugubris
White-crowned Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga
Hume’s Wheatear Oenanthe albonigra
Finsch’s Wheatear Oenanthe finschii
Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens
Arabian Wheatear Oenanthe lugentoides
Kurdish Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna
Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe chrysopygia

Boulder Chat Pinarornis plumosus

Herero Chat Namibornis herero

Humblot’s Flycatcher Humblotia flavirostris

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 322

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